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The Pastor's Blog

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Antioch, about three hundred miles north of Jerusalem, was the third most populous city in the world, behind Rome in Italy and Alexandria in Egypt. The bustling inland seaport city lay about 20 miles from the Mediterranean on the Orontes River. It was a melting-pot, with residents who had come from Europe, Asia, Africa, India and the Orient. Antioch also had a large population of Jewish Christians, displaced from Jerusalem after the mass persecution that arose following the stoning of Stephan.

With no input or assistance from the Apostles in Jerusalem, revival broke out in Antioch among the Greek-speaking Jews. God used unnamed, undereducated, unsanctioned laymen from Cyprus and Cyrene to ignite the fires of revival. “A great number who believed turned to the Lord” (Acts 11:21, ESV).

When news of these many new Christian converts arrived in Jerusalem, the Apostles sent a representative to inspect. They chose Barnabas, “a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith” (Acts 11:24). “When he came and saw the grace of God, he was glad, and he exhorted them all to remain faithful to the Lord” (Acts 11:23, ESV).

In Antioch, Barnabas “exhorted” the growing church. He encouraged them. As a result, “a great many people were added to the Lord” (Acts 11:24, ESV). The revival continued.

With multitudes of baby Christians in Antioch’s multi-cultural church, Barnabas knew he needed help shepherding and disciplining. He couldn’t do it himself, so he called in the reinforcements. “Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul, and when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. For a whole year they met with the church and taught a great many people” (Acts 11:25-26, ESV).

Barnabas was an encourager.

Because he was faithful to represent Jerusalem, souls were gloriously saved for eternity.

Because the church in Antioch flourished under his leadership, those who faithfully confessed Christ were given a new name. “In Antioch the disciples were first called Christians” (Acts 11:26, ESV).

And Barnabas mentored Saul, a young leader who became the most important Christian missionary in history. Barnabas multiplied his ministry by training and encouraging Saul. He mentored.

Moses mentored Joshua. Elijah mentored Elisha. Jesus mentored the twelve. Barnabas mentored Saul/Paul who later mentored Silas, Timothy, Titus, Luke, and many others.

In his last epistle, Paul wrote to Timothy, the young pastor in Ephesus, saying, “what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also” (2 Timothy 2:2, ESV). God’s word commands us to multiply! ... to mentor!


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